The Lebanese Prime Minister said today that his country, which is in an unprecedented economic crisis, will deport Syrian refugees who are in its territory, if the international community does not help them in their repatriation.
Lebanon says it is hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees, the largest number of refugees per capita in the world.
“Eleven years after the start of the Syrian conflict, Lebanon is no longer able to bear such a burden,” Najib Mikati warned, referring to the war in neighboring Syria that broke out in 2011.
“I call on the international community to work with Lebanon to repatriate displaced Syrians,” he added.
“Otherwise, Lebanon will take a decision that is not desirable for the western countries, namely the expulsion of the Syrians from Lebanon,” he warned, stressing that this would be done “legally”.
Mikati speaking during the opening ceremony of the UN-backed “Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2022-2023”, which aims to provide humanitarian assistance to 1.5 million Lebanese, the same number of Syrian refugees and more of 200,000 Palestinian refugees.
Since 2015, $ 9 billion in aid has been provided under this project, according to the UN.
And today, Lebanon has asked for $ 3.2 billion “to deal with the continuing impact of the Syrian crisis,” according to the same source.
By the end of May, Lebanese Minister of Social Affairs Hector Hajar had already warned that Lebanon could no longer afford the “cost” of caring for Syrian refugees on its territory.
Lebanon has been going through an unprecedented economic crisis since 2019, one of the worst in world history since 1850, according to the World Bank.
This crisis has suddenly plunged many Lebanese into poverty, increasing public dissatisfaction with the continued presence of Syrian refugees in the country.
Some politicians and experts have recently said that thanks to donations in aid dollars, Syrian refugees are receiving more help than the poorest Lebanese.
Several non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International, have warned of the danger of deporting refugees to Syria, where authorities say NGOs have arrested, tortured or disappeared Syrians returning to the country. .